A/N:

jackbauer: This is our first collab we wrote it for belli486 for in the fic exchange. We used be fic married, but we're recently divorced.

Daisy: why do you keep bringing that up? you know it hurts me.

jackbauer: Well you are the one who said it was over. Anyway thanks to our beta... did we have a beta?

Daisy: you always need a beta. Profmom beta'd this, dumbass.

jackbauer: ohhh oops Stop. Don't you know I hate cussing

Daisy: of course i f*****g know that (edited by jackbauer)

jackbauer: Any cussing in this story was ...DAISY THIS IS RATED T!

Daisy: you tried to delete all the cusses i put in this collab

jackbauer: Ok well thanks profmom and you're welcome Daisy for lending MY beta to this effort.

Daisy: lol. This is going to be an annoying a/n

jackbauer: I love annoying a/n's

Daisy: that's true.

jackbauer: We should tell them it will be three chapters and there was no rhyme or reason to who wrote what, but that all the good parts are mine

Daisy: lol yes the good parts are yours but all the parts worth reading are mine.

jackbauer: maybe you should write a disclaimer now

Daisy: characters do not belong us, all typos belong to jackbauer, and all cussing belongs to me.

Meant to Be Broken

Chapter 1

"Alice, I don't want to wear heels," I groaned.

"But Jacob already towers over you. He's going to have a problem kissing you at midnight if you wear flats," my best friend argued.

"He's always found a way before," I reminded her. Jacob and I had been together for almost a year. He was funny, he made me feel special, and I was in love with him. He was a safety on the Purdue football team where we were both going to college.

Growing up with my dad, I'd always been a sports fanatic. He didn't really give me much of a choice in that area. From the moment I opened my eyes, a love for the game was drilled into me. My first word was "touchdown," and while most little girls' bedrooms were pink and purple, mine was decorated in Seahawks blue and green. Football was the one thing my dad and I had in common, and so it was only natural for me to gravitate toward it in school, too.

I started working with the football team in junior high and then became one of the trainers for my high school team. I was always surrounded by jocks – mainly football players – and most of the time it was a lot of fun. I was the girl that all the guys looked out for, and I had a lot of crazy experiences with the team that made all my friends jealous. I was one of the only girls that got to spend time behind the scenes with the guys, to joke around with them in their element. I even saw a few of them practically naked. It was awesome. The truth was that riding on the team bus to away games wasn't nearly as glamorous as it seemed, and when it came time for prom or the off-season, I was always the one who was jealous. I was the one with ridiculous crushes on the unattainable quarterback or the tight end with an average of over 200 yards receiving per game. But the quarterback and the tight end never thought of me like that. The players asked out the cheerleaders, while I, their little buddy, sat at home alone. The guys on the team thought of me as just another one of the guys or worse, like their little sister.

It wasn't until I got to college that an athlete finally noticed me, and I reveled in the attention. I met Jacob on one of my first days as a trainer's assistant for the Boilermakers. I taped up his ankle, he flirted with me, and we went on our first date that night.

His football schedule kept him busy, but it was my first serious relationship, so I tried to be patient. I didn't have anything to compare it to after all. When we were together I was blissed out. The problem was that didn't happen often enough. I wanted to spend more time together, and he always promised we would, but then for some reason or another he could never make it. Like the time he promised to take me to see Wicked in Chicago, but then had to squeeze in an extra workout before a big game. I was devastated. So much for defying gravity.

I had a feeling that was about to change though. It was New Year's Eve, and we were back at school early for a big party some of the coaches' wives were throwing for the team. After tonight, everything would be different. Tonight Jacob was going to propose. I was sure of it. He'd been dropping hints all over the place, and I just knew this was it. Surely once we were engaged, he would have to make more time. A fiancée had to be a priority.

Alice helped me finish getting ready, and I could admit it. I looked good. Really good. My plum colored dress left some to the imagination in front, but was low cut in the back. Alice curled my hair, and even talked me into fake eye lashes, saying they made my eyes pop. Tonight I would get to spend the evening dancing with man I loved. It was going to be great seeing some of the players all dressed up and totally out of their element. I was looking forward to everyone gushing over my ring and all the girls telling me how lucky I was. I just hoped I didn't cry and ruin my make-up.

I drove over to the athletic housing to pick up Jacob. There was no way I was getting on his motorcycle in this dress in the sub-zero Indiana winter. I climbed out of my car and walked up the sidewalk toward his apartment. Another girl was walking toward me from the other direction carrying a small brown paper sack and a to-go cup. I let her go ahead of me, and she smiled in appreciation. I followed her up the sidewalk, and I was surprised when she walked to Jacob's building. I was even more surprised when she kept going straight to Jacob's door.

"Excuse me," I said just before she knocked. "Can I help you with something?"

"No, I'm just bringing my boyfriend some soup."

"Boyfriend?" I was sure she must have the wrong apartment. "Are you sure you have the right place? This is Jacob Black's apartment."

"Yes, I was just bringing him some soup," she said louder like was stupid or deaf.

"But I thought you were bringing soup to your boyfriend. Do you mean Embry or Quil?" I was getting more and more confused. Then it hit me. "Wait did you mean Jacob is your boyfriend? He's my boyfriend." Maybe she was crazy or a stalker. I considered calling the police.

"I think you must be delusional, sweetheart. Jacob is one hundred percent mine." She took on a bit of an aggressive stance, and I took a step back.

"There must be some sort of mistake. Are you telling me you're dating Jacob Black?" I tried to clear up the confusion.

"Yes, of course. Now, please tell me what you're doing here," she seethed.

"I'm here to go to a New Year's party with him." I swallowed back the bile in my throat.

"I...I thought he was sick." She started to look ill, too.

"I've been dating him for over a year." I silently prayed that this was some sort of colossal mistake.

"You're kidding. Please tell me your kidding," the girl's voice turned almost pleading. I started to feel sorry for her, and I really started to feel even sorrier for myself."

"Not kidding," I shook my head.

"I've been dating him since last Spring Break," she cringed as she said it.

"Oh my gosh," I moaned. "I can't believe this." We stood there assessing each other. I wasn't sure if she was about to cry on my shoulder or punch me.

"I'm going to kill that asshole," she finally seethed.

"I'm going to help you." My confusion was suddenly replaced with fury.

"I'm Leah, by the way." The girl stuck out her hand, and I shook it.

"Bella Swan," I replied as she pounded on the door. We heard footsteps approach, and she took the lid off the drink and handed it to me as she pulled a large bowl of soup out of the bag she was holding. I nodded to her that I was on the same page.

Jacob answered the door wearing a suit. He had gel in his hair and looked pretty much perfect. My heart ached at what I'd just lost, but it was not the time to cry. Now was the time to put that stupid dog in his place.

"Baby, I'm ready," he said, straightening his tie. When he looked up, he didn't see who he expected. "Leah? What are you….Bella? You're here. You're both here." His eyes grew wide as the realization of what was happening dawned on him.

"Happy New Year, Asshole," Leah said and poured the soup over his head.

"Yeah, Happy New Year, you lying, cheating, good for nothing jerk," I snarled and threw the cup of soda in his face.

Leah held up her hand, and I gave her a high five. We stomped back down the sidewalk together, not even bothering to look back at Jacob or give him a chance to explain.

We reached the fork in the sidewalk that led to each of our cars, and we both stopped. I wasn't sure if we should hug or shake hands or go slash Jacob's tires.

"Want to get a drink or something?" Leah offered, still looking pretty shaken up.

"Sure." It wasn't like I had anything better to do. "How about Harry's?"

"Meet you there," she agreed.

I started driving and told myself over and over again that I was not going to be sick. I would not cry. I wouldn't give Jacob my tears. He didn't deserve them. Ugh! I was such an idiot. I looked down at my left hand and felt ridiculous for thinking he was going to propose! I gripped the steering wheel so tight my knuckles hurt. What if he had proposed? I could have ended up on a 20/20 story about a man with two wives. For all I knew Jacob had other girlfriends, too. I HATED HIM! I wanted to punch something. I wanted to punch Jacob. I couldn't believe I fell for this. I should have known. He was always busy with the team. I would see the other players out and wonder why they didn't have to keep the same schedule, but I dismissed it. Every time he canceled plans with me, and I got upset, he would end up making me feel bad for being frustrated. I was obviously a fool, and Jacob was just cocky enough to think something like having two girlfriends at once could work. I thought he loved me. I thought I was special.

I drove into the parking garage across from Harry's, and almost drove right back out. Why in the world would I want to spend New Year's with my cheating ex-boyfriend's other girlfriend?

Screw it. I needed a drink.

I walked inside, and Leah was already sitting at a booth. I started to make my way over to her when I ran straight into somebody. I hit him so hard it almost knocked me backward, but he grabbed me by the shoulders, holding me upright. "Bella, are you okay?"

I looked up into the perfect green eyes of Edward Cullen. He was the starting quarterback, and I knew him from working for the team. Edward was practically a celebrity around campus, and everybody worshipped the ground he walked on. Everybody except for Jacob. Jacob couldn't stand him. I wasn't sure what had happened between them, and Jacob wouldn't tell me. I trusted Jacob though, so if he didn't like Cullen there must have been a good reason. As for me, Edward and I had always been on friendly enough terms. He was always kind to me, and engaged me in conversation when we interacted. I'd never really talked to him much outside of work, though, because of Jacob.

"Oh yeah, sorry. I'm fine. I should watch where I'm going."

"What are you doing here? Aren't you going to the party tonight?" he asked without letting go of me.

"Um…I'm actually just meeting a friend for a drink. Um...." I motioned with my head to my shoulder where he was still holding on.

"Oh, sorry." Edward snapped his hands back and shuffled his feet uncomfortably.

"What about you, are you going to the party?"

"I'll make an appearance later. I never bothered to find a date, and I'll stick out like a sore thumb," he explained. I motioned to Leah telling her just one more second, and Edward followed my gaze over to her.

"Wait, you're having a drink with her?" he asked barely loud enough for me to hear his shaky voice.

I looked back at his face, and his expression was nervous. Guilty. Then it hit me. "You knew about her?" I started to raise my voice.

"Umm… well…." Edward stared at the floor and shuffled his feet. I had never been more humiliated. Not only was Jacob screwing someone else, but apparently it was public knowledge.

"Does the whole team know?" I asked, my anger growing.

Edward made a pained face and nodded yes. I was going to explode.

"NO!!" I screeched and stormed off toward Leah.

"Turns out the whole team knew about Jacob's two-timing," I sneered as I slammed myself down in the seat across from Leah. Leah's eyes grew wide, and she glanced over to where I'd come from. She saw Edward still frozen in his spot. Her lips tightened. She took some deep breaths, and then emptied the glass in front of her.

"I hate men. I hate all of them." She slid a beer across the table in my direction. I drank most of it and she filled it again from the pitcher in front of her.

"It's not all men. It's athletes. They're all obsessed with themselves and think they're above acting like decent human beings. They're despicable, the whole lot of them. I've seen it over and over. They have no concept of consequences. They can get away with anything and joke with each other about how easy it is."

"You're right. Why would anyone go out with someone like that? It's just setting yourself up to get screwed and not in a good way," Leah agreed.

"I have no idea, I thought it was what I wanted, but I was stupid. I won't make that mistake again. No. More. Athletes. I'm a fairly attractive girl, and I'm sure there are plenty of normal, respectful, good-looking guys who would love to go out with just me. I'm not swearing off men altogether, but if they play with any balls not attached to their bodies, then they're out of the running."

"Hear, hear. That's a New Year's Resolution I can keep." Leah raised her glass. "No more athletes."

"No more athletes," I confirmed, and we both took another drink.

~*~*~

"Ugh." I groaned loudly, turning and reaching out blindly for my alarm clock. I finally felt it with my fingertips and sent it flying across the room. I heard it smash against the wall and shatter. Oops. Oh well, at least I shut the damn thing up.

My head was throbbing and my entire body ached. I could smell my own body odor. I ran my tongue over my teeth and they felt strangely fuzzy. Ew gross. What happened to me? I rubbed my temples with my fingertips, trying desperately to remember last night.

New Year's Eve.

Jacob.

Leah.

Wait… Leah?

Oh, right.

Jacob.

Cheating lying bastard of a boyfriend. Ex-boyfriend.

I groaned again and rolled over, grabbed my pillow, and pulled it tightly over my head. I had wanted to erase Jacob from my memory. At least that was my intent when I kept saying 'yes' to all those pitchers of beer. And shots of Tequila. And what was that blue stuff?

How did I even get home? The last thing I remembered was sliding into the booth next to Leah. We were singing… something… and had our arms around each other's shoulders. I remembered green eyes. Edward Cullen popped into my head. Why was I thinking about work? Oh wait, Edward had been there. Did he sit down with us? I remembered being mad at him, but then...maybe. Did I call him pretty? All of this thinking was making my headache worse, so I decided to stop thinking. Instead I moaned again, just because I could.

"Would you quit it? Some of us are trying to sleep!"

Oh, right, my roommate.

"Sorry, Alice," I mumbled.

"What happened to you last night, anyway? You stumbled in at four, and I didn't even see Jake drop you off. I wasn't expecting you to come back at all."

"Jake's a cheating son of a bitch, and I never want to see him again."

Silence.

"Bella, are you okay?" she asked tentatively.

Thankfully she knew better than to try an 'I told you so' right now. I sighed and rolled onto my back before slowly sitting up and rubbing my eyes with the heels of my hands. Maybe if I rubbed hard enough I could erase that look on his face. That "I am sooo busted look." Or maybe the pity I saw in Edward Cullen's eyes. The last thing I wanted was pity. I already felt like the world's biggest moron.

"No, Alice, I'm not okay. But I will be as soon as I forget that scum bucket ever existed."

I didn't hear her move, but suddenly the mattress next to me depressed and there were arms surrounding me. I didn't know how someone so tiny could hug so tightly.

I heard myself sniffling and that only made me angrier. The last thing Jake deserved was my tears.

"So what are we going to do about J–"

"Don't say his name. Please. I don't want to think about him at all."

"Alright, okay… So, what did "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" do exactly? How do you know he cheated on you?"

I sniffled. "He's been dating someone else this whole time. Every time he cancelled plans or told me he was too busy with team stuff he was probably out with her. The team even knew about it."

"Did one of them tell you, or did Jacob confess?" Alice asked.

"Yeah right. I ran into his other girlfriend last night. She was just showing up to bring him soup when I got there. He had told her he was sick and couldn't go out, poor baby," I sneered.

"Oh, Bella." Alice looked like she was about to cry, but there was an edge to her sadness. An angry edge.

She shot up and looked at me with unmasked fury as she started to pace the room. "So what's next? Slash his tires? Hand out flyers all over campus with that picture of him from Newton's party last year where he put on the panties? Tell the coaches why he really missed practice that one time?"

"No, Alice. Revenge isn't my style. All I know is that I have a new rule to live by and you're going to have to hold me to it. When it comes to dating, there will be absolutely, positively no athletes of any kind. Under any circumstances."

Alice just stared. She knew this was big for me. The only guys I was ever interested in were athletes. Something about the way they handled a ball made think they could handle....NO! No more!

"I mean it, Alice. The entire football team knew about what was going on, and no one told me. I feel like such a fool. How did I not see what was going on?"

"Because You-Know-Who is a lying, two-timing manwhore who can't keep it in his pants… and unfortunately those types are usually pretty skilled in deception. Now you're lucky in this case because your fabulous, devoted best friend is very skilled in ball-chopping. Revenge might not be your style, but let's face it, your style sucks. Give me two minutes alone with him, and we'll be able to roast his nuggets over an open flame."

I couldn't help it, I cracked up. Leave it to Alice. I would never cross Miss "Tiny but Mighty."

"Thanks Alice, but I really don't think that's necessary. I just want to move on with my life."

"I wish you knew what it was like to date a nice guy. Someone who knows how much your worth and lets you know they appreciate being with you. Jacob was always such a douche. At least he's out of your life now."

"Yeah," I sighed. Alice was talking a million miles a minute and I just wanted to mope.

"You know the best way to get over someone is to find someone new. How about we make you a profile on ? We could use that picture of you in that black dress...."

"Alice no," I interrupted. "I'm not ready to date anyone this soon."

"Okay, okay. Just promise me you'll keep your options open," Alice asked with her puppy dog eyes I could never resist.

"Fine," I sighed. "I can agree to not shutting myself off to possibilities, but I don't want you trying to set me up with anyone or putting my picture online."

"Great. You just never know when you'll meet Mr. Right." Our phone started ringing. "Maybe that's him!" she giggled and ran off to get the phone.

I didn't want to be pathetic and stay in bed all day, even if I was nursing the worst hangover of my entire existence. I needed something. I needed a cheeseburger. A greasy one. I forced myself to roll out of bed. Alice and I threw on jeans and hoodies and headed to the Triple X for burgers. They were pretty much the end all be all of hangover cures in the area. The patties were juicy and greasy, and I always got mine with lots of cheese and grilled onions. It might kill me, but right then that didn't sound like the worst alternative. Plus, at least I would die with a full stomach. When we arrived, we found we weren't the only poor suckers in need of a hangover fix and ended up waiting for about half an hour for seats at the counter.

There was one empty seat next to me, and while we were waiting for our burgers I felt a hand rest gently on my shoulder.

"Excuse me, is this seat taken?"

When I turned to see where the voice had come from, I was momentarily stunned. The boy towering over me was… guh. He had wavy dark brown hair, just long enough to be a little shaggy. His eyes were a piercing blue, and they crinkled at the corners when he smiled. His smile was infectious, complete with adorable dimples. I couldn't help but grin right back at him, despite the fact that my life was currently in shambles.

"Miss?"

"Oh, right. Sorry. Umm, sure… have a seat."

He looked pleased and slid onto the stool next to mine.

"Hey there," he started, reaching his hand out for me to shake. "My name's Emmett. Emmett McCarty."

His hand was enormous and warm, and mine disappeared inside of it. He smiled again, raising an eyebrow in question. Oh, right, I was supposed to speak.

"Bella Swan."

"Well, Bella Swan, I'm pleased to meet you. And you are?" He turned to Alice, nodding his head in her direction.

"Hi! I'm Alice Brandon, Bella's best friend and roommate. I'm glad you came to sit with us. We were just talking about keeping our options open."

I elbowed her in the ribs, but she didn't even flinch.

Emmett proved to be good company. Really good. I'd been planning to wallow and feel sorry for myself for at least a few days, but Emmett's gregarious attitude was entirely too contagious. I'd never been so comfortable with a guy right off the bat. I laughed at every other sentence that came out of his mouth. He was clearly intelligent and witty, and we spent almost two hours trading jabs and laughing together.

"How in the world are you eating so much? Where is it all going?" Emmett asked as he looked at my belly.

I slapped his arm. "Shut it, Hagrid. I can't believe you called me fat!"

"I didn't call you fat. I just don't understand how you look like that when you just ate your weight in ground beef."

We finally stood up to leave, and he helped me into my coat. I smiled at the simple gesture; Jacob never did gentlemanly things like that. I liked it.

"So, Bella…" he began, and I saw the slightest nervous edge behind his confident exterior. "Do you think I could call you sometime?"

I hesitated for a moment and saw his face fall just the slightest bit. It made my stomach clench to see him stop smiling. It just seemed so… unnatural.

"Are you an athlete?" I blurted out. The confused look on his face made me giggle and was worth my momentary embarrassment. I couldn't believe I had just asked him such a random question, but I also had a hard time believing he wasn't one. He was definitely built like a tight end or... Well, he was built.

"Of course." The goofy grin returned to his face and he pretended to flex his muscles.

"That's not what I mean," I let out an exaggerated sight. I mean do you play ball for the school or run track or swim? Anything that requires a uniform and practices."

"No, not anymore. I busted my knee senior year of high school. What, do you only hang out with athletes or something?"

"No, actually the opposite. It's sort of my new rule that I don't hang out with athletes."

He watched me carefully, and I was pretty sure he could sense the fresh pain on my features. He relaxed and the dimples were back in full force, making it impossible for me to be upset or uncomfortable.

"So am I disqualified for my playing football in high school? Or do I get a blank slate for college?"

"Hmm," I said, pretending to consider the situation very cautiously. "I suppose you get a bye this time, but step out of line, and I'll be forced to bench you."

I winked at him coyly, and his whole face lit up.

"I think I can play by those rules, coach."

We exchanged phones and typed in our numbers. Alice had been unusually quiet through all of this, but I could practically hear her celebrating internally. I knew the minute we were alone she was going to pounce on me. We parted ways outside the diner, and as I walked away from Emmett McCarty I was thinking that my New Year's Resolution was going to be easier to keep than I originally thought.

~*~*~

It had been a month, and Jacob still hadn't stopped calling. What did he expect? Forgiveness? He was lucky I didn't cause him bodily harm or tell everyone about his itty bitty teeny weenie. I reminded myself to add a sharpie to my purse next time I went to Harry's. Those bathroom walls could use some decorating. Maybe Alice was right about revenge after all.

I had a lot of studying to do, and Alice would not stop talking, so I grabbed my back pack and headed to Greyhouse, my favorite coffee shop. I walked in, sat down, and got my things situated before I went to order my drink. Reading my Anatomy book was about to bore me to tears. I settled in to read, and it didn't take long before I was fighting off sleep. I stretched my arms over my head and yawned. I looked up and met the eyes of a man sitting across from me at the next table.

He gave me a small smile and a nod before looking back at his book. I pretended to study again, but I kept looking up over my book at him. He had on a plaid flannel rolled up to his elbows, accentuating his arm muscles, jeans with holes worn in them, and boots. He had scruff on his chin, and his blonde hair was grown out and messy. I kept trying to see what he was reading, but I figured staring and squinting would be even more obvious than the quick glances. It looked like a novel. I'd always thought boys who read were hot.

Maybe if I accidentally dropped my pen on purpose, I could…

Oh! He reached down to pick it up for me. "Here you go ma'am." He smiled at me, and I melted a little.

"Thanks."

"You're welcome." He gave me a quick nod and went back to reading.

Guh. So much for studying anything but him. I was considering dropping my pen again when the bell on the door jingled, and Edward Cullen came walking in. I dove behind my book trying to hide.

He went to the counter to order, and it was disgusting how all the female baristas gathered behind the register eager to help him. Ugh. He made me sick. Stupid jock.

He got his drink and scanned the room for a place to sit. I ducked behind my book even further. A few seconds later, I heard the chair across from me scrape against the floor. I didn't look up. I felt something tap on my head. I glanced up to find Edward sitting at my table, grinning, and holding a pencil like he was about to tap me with it again.

"Mind if I sit here?" he asked.

"I think it would probably be more polite to ask before you make yourself at home, and there are plenty of other tables available."

"You were awfully eager for me to sit with you on New Year's Eve," he smirked.

Damn it! Why couldn't I remember… oh, tequila.

"What are you doing here anyway?" I asked trying to change the subject.

"Why are you so hostile? I need to study for my molecular biology test, and it's way too loud at the dorms."

"Study? I figured you had someone to do that for you. And molecular biology? That's a tough course for someone like you."

"Well it's a required course for pre-med, and no, I do all my own studying."

"Pre-med? Yeah right."

"Excuse me, Jasper, would you mind telling my girl here what my major is," Edward turned to the handsome stranger and asked.

He looked up from his book, frowned a little, and answered, "Pre-med."

"Thanks, man. I've almost got my paper finished for your class tomorrow. I think you're going to like it," Edward said.

The guy shook his head, smiled in amusement, and went back to his book.

"He's my TA for Comp II," Edward told me. "He's a cool guy."

I glanced over at the handsome stranger again. Jasper. The name fit.

Edward cleared his throat to get my attention. "So, do you want to go with me to the football banquet next month?" Edward asked drumming his fingers on the table.

I spit the drink of my latte I'd been taking back into the cup. "You need a ride?" I asked confused. I would have assumed he had a car.

"No, I mean do you want to GO with me?" he tried again.

"What? You mean as your date? No! Hell no!"

"What's wrong with you? Everyone brings a date, and I thought… well everybody on the team really likes you and I thought you would want to be there…" Edward said uncomfortably.

"I'm not dating any more athletes, and that includes going as your date to any athletic events. Plus I don't need you doing me any favors." I could feel my face grow red with anger. Did he think he was doing me a favor by allowing me the pleasure of his company? Like that would make my life so much better. Ugh, I was so tired of this conceited attitude. They all had it.

"Listen, Jacob is an ass. Everybody's pissed at him for what he did to you, and…"

"And I should forgive him, because he's really sorry! You're ridiculous! You're all ridiculous," I snarled.

"No! Would you calm down? I was going to say, that I'm sorry I didn't do something to stop him sooner. You didn't deserve to be treated like that. You're an amazing woman, and Jacob didn't know how lucky he was. If I…never mind. I need to go."

He stood up, slung his bag over his shoulder, and walked out the door. I sat there with my mouth hanging open. I felt bad. Really bad. I hadn't meant to be so mean. Edward had always been nice to me. I just couldn't handle anything related to the team right now.

"Here you go, miss. I think your pen fell off the table gain when your boyfriend left," Jasper said, holding up my pen for me again.

"Oh, he's not my boyfriend," I corrected him. "We're friends, I guess. Acquaintances really."

A huge smile broke out on Jasper's face.

"I'm Jasper." He held out his hand to shake mine.

As I shook it I noticed it was rough, like he was used to hard work. So, he worked with his hands and taught English Comp? That was impressive.

"Can I ask you a question?" he said.

"Sure."

"Are you going to tell me your name, or do I have to guess?"

"Oh, sorry." I looked down and blushed. "I'm Bella."

"Bella, can I ask you another question?"

"Of course," I smiled back at him trying to give him a flirty eye. I probably looked like I had allergies.

"Are you hungry? It's just about dinner time, and I have a mind for some pancakes."

"Really? Like a date?"

"If that's okay with you," he shrugged.

"Um, sure, I mean, wait… do you play sports?" I asked.

"Um, well I like to think I'm in pretty good shape. I can hold my own on the basketball court."

"No, I mean for the school, like on a team." I clarified, realizing how ridiculous I sounded.

"I'm a TA. I'm working on my masters in comparative lit, but that's all I do for the school. I prefer to exercise my intellect, I guess."

"Perfect. Pancakes sound perfect."

The pancakes were good. The company was better. Jasper was the perfect gentleman, and I was impressed at how he could compliment me without making me uncomfortable. He was smart, like out of my league smart. Luckily he didn't seem the kind of person who got off on making everyone else feel stupid. If I found something interesting he would explain it to me and let me ask questions. Honestly, I would have found anything he had to say fascinating.

He walked me across campus back to my apartment, and up to my door.

"So, Bella, can I see you again?" he asked smiling down at me. His eyes were warm and intense at the same time.

"That would be nice," I answered.

Jasper reached down for my hand and lifted to his lips kissing it softly. "Goodnight, Bella."

"Goodnight," I whimpered, left speechless by how dreamy he was.

"What's wrong with you?" Alice asked when I closed the door behind me.

"Nothing's wrong," I sighed.

"Your face is all flushed and you're smiling. You never smile. Not lately anyway." Alice got up and stood in front of me to feel my forehead. "Are you sick?"

"No, I'm not sick. I just...I just met someone."

"You met someone? Are you sure you weren't abducted by aliens?"

"No, Alice, I met a guy. We met at the coffee shop and then we went out for pancakes, and he's just so...so...hot," I sighed and fell back on the couch.

"What about that other guy, Emmett?" Alice questioned.

"Oh, yeah, I like him too," I admitted. "The best part is that neither of them are athletes."

"Woah, Bella, dating two guys at once. That seems a little wild for you."

"I'm just keeping my options open like you told me to. It's not like I want anything serious right now. I just got out of a relationship. It's causal. I'm dating. Playing the field. Seeing what's out there."

"Just be careful," Alice warned. "You don't want to get in over your head."

I nodded in agreement, but I couldn't believe Alice, the one who was always encouraging me to find Mr. Right wasn't excited about my prospects. I wasn't the same old Bella who played everything safe. Safe was boring. I was dating around. I'd never had many guys ask me out before, much less two at the same time. I was wild. Okay, so I knew dating around wasn't usually my style, but I'd never really had a style except for pining after unattainable jocks or being completely devoted to a guy that turned out to be a jackass. I was having fun. There was nothing wrong with having a little fun.

A/N: Thanks for reading! You should really go read Daisy3853's multi chapter Underexposed. It's the best story ever. Go ahead and review. Please. I've lost my umpf for dramatic begging A/N's.